Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on Tipperary County Council to clarify why it’s Mediation Process with the Traveller families who are currently residing on Cabragh Bridge has included discussions around the ongoing use of the existing site if and when the families take up residence at the new six house development. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he received a reply to a Freedom of Information request he had submitted on the matter on 1st April:
“Tipperary County Council has explicitly confirmed to me that the specific reason for the Mediation Process is “to enable the six houses to be occupied by the Traveller families who are currently residing on Cabragh Bridge and the clearance of the illegal accommodation units at the bridge.”
This is absolutely unacceptable in light of the fact that An Bord Pleanala has already made a ruling on this matter to the effect that the illegal site must be vacated.
Given that this is the case, serious questions must now be asked around why the Council is engaged in a costly and long running Mediation Process.
One of the answers to that may very well be that the Traveller families simply do not want to abide by the An Bord Pleanala ruling and are seeking continued use of the site for other activities.
If that is the case it is outrageous for the Council to be engaged in a pleading contest asking the families to accept the law of the land. It simply would not happen in 99% of similar cases.
The reply from the Council also informed me that the Mediation Process is comprised of Solicitors for the Traveller families at Cabragh, Solicitors for Tipperary County Council, Sinead Carr, Director of Services, Donal Purcell Senior Executive Officer, Jonathon Cooney, Senior Engineer and Padraig Ryan, Senior Social Worker, with initial support from the Traveller Mediation Service.
They have refused to divulge information on the cost of the process to date and nor have they have accepted my request for a total projected cost to be made available.
We need clarity on this matter once and for all,” concluded Deputy McGrath.